Sunday, July 2, 2023

My Calcutta University days

My university memories. Calcutta University was established on 24 January 1857 and is the oldest multidisciplinary university. Some prominent personalities were, Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Rajendra Prasad Bankim Chandra Chatterjee became one of the first graduates of the university. I am a proud alumni of this prestigious university. Joined Calcutta University in the late 76 to pursue my MA. literature. Our English classes were on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors. Got to make some good friends also. Once when entering university, I saw a blind male student floundering through the gate to reach the stairs. Without thinking, I rushed towards him, held his hand and lead him to his class on the 3rd floor. Within a few months, in the mid 77, I got married. My MIL an elderly and affectionate lady was staying with us. I am fortunate that my MIL and husband allowed me to continue my studies. My MIL used to make sure that I was having enough money with me when I left for university. On returning, I used to see her sitting on the stairs waiting anxiously. The smile that lit up her face at my sight was truly heart warming. I would be delighted to see hot bajji and steaming tea waiting for me. Very soon I conceived. I used to go by a particular No. 5 double decker bus which stopped near the university. If I missed the bus, I had to take 2 buses. I remember running behind the no. 5 bus in my pregnant state when it used to leave the stop and stop some distance away. Once my husband took me to his TOI office. I was wearing a white organdi with orange flowers. A sari my father had given me knowing I loved organdi sarees. At the office, the receptionist a boisterous lady seeing me said that I looked beautiful and surely it was going to be a boy. (Unfortunately, a few years later she passed away at a young age from brain hemmorage.) Later, my husband dropped me at a lane leading to my university as he was in a hurry to reach a place. It was quite a long walk to the university. I started walking and was aghast to see my sari opening out and following a cycle. I stood shocked and bewildered in my petticot and pregnant state. No one around came to help. The cyclist who had gone some distance felt something wrong, turned back and simply freed a stitch of the sari hem that had got caught on his cycle wheel and nonchalantly rode away. I was in tears feeling uneasy with all the stares. I quickly scooped up my torn sari held it and walked slowly to university. Upon reaching, I rushed to the washroom and wore the sare upside down so that the torn area was hidden in the pleats tucked above. A sorry tale of a beautiful sari. It was during my MA exam that an unfortunate incident in the family made me refuse writing the exam. It was my father whose coaxing and advice made me write the exam and clear it. My son was 4 moths old. My witty husband who knew I had not studied well used to make fun saying I bribed Ma Kali to pass my exam. Truly some precious memories of my educattion in Calcutta university. See less